Thursday Sep 13, 2012

BI Applications overview

Welcome to Oracle BI applications blog! This blog will talk about various features, general roadmap, description of functionality and implementation steps related to Oracle BI applications. In the first post we start with an overview of the BI apps and will delve deeper into some of the topics below in the upcoming weeks and months. If there are other topics you would like us to talk about, pl feel free to provide feedback on that.

The Oracle BI applications are a set of pre-built applications that enable pervasive BI by providing role-based insight for each functional area, including sales, service, marketing, contact center, finance, supplier/supply chain, HR/workforce, and executive management. For example, Sales Analytics includes role-based applications for sales executives, sales management, as well as front-line sales reps, each of whom have different needs.

The applications integrate and transform data from a range of enterprise sources—including Siebel, Oracle, PeopleSoft, SAP, and others—into actionable intelligence for each business function and user role.

This blog  starts with the key benefits and characteristics of Oracle BI applications. In a series of subsequent blogs, each of these points will be explained in detail.

Why BI apps?

  • Demonstrate the value of BI to a business user, show reports / dashboards / model that can answer their business questions as part of the sales cycle.
  • Demonstrate technical feasibility of BI project and significantly lower risk and improve success
  • Build Vs Buy benefit
  • Don’t have to start with a blank sheet of paper.
  • Help consolidate disparate systems
  • Data integration in M&A situations
  • Insulate BI consumers from changes in the OLTP
  • Present OLTP data and highlight issues of poor data / missing data – and improve data quality and accuracy

Prebuilt Integrations

BI apps support prebuilt integrations against leading ERP sources: Fusion Applications, E- Business Suite, Peoplesoft, JD Edwards, Siebel, SAP

  • Co-developed with inputs from functional experts in BI and Applications teams.
  • Out of the box dimensional model to source model mappings
  • Multi source and Multi Instance support

Rich Data Model

 BI apps have a very rich dimensionsal data model built over 10 years that incorporates best practises from BI modeling perspective as well as reflect the source system complexities 

  • Conformed dimensional model across all business subject areas allows cross functional reporting, e.g. customer / supplier 360
  • Over 360 fact tables across 7 product areas
  • CRM – 145, SCM – 47, Financials – 28, Procurement – 20, HCM – 27, Projects – 18, Campus Solutions – 21, PLM - 56
  • Supported by 300 physical dimensions
  • Support for extensive calendars; Gregorian, enterprise and ledger based
  • Conformed data model and metrics for real time vs warehouse based reporting
  •  Multi-tenant enabled

Extensive BI related transformations

BI apps ETL and data integration support various transformations required for dimensional models and reporting requirements. All these have been distilled into common patterns and abstracted logic which can be readily reused across different modules

  • Slowly Changing Dimension support
  • Hierarchy flattening support
  • Row / Column Hybrid Hierarchy Flattening
  • As Is vs. As Was hierarchy support
  • Currency Conversion :-  Support for 3 corporate, CRM, ledger and transaction currencies
  • UOM conversion
  • Internationalization / Localization
  • Dynamic Data translations
  • Code standardization (Domains)
  • Historical Snapshots
  • Cycle and process lifecycle computations
  • Balance Facts
  • Equalization of GL accounting chartfields/segments
  • Standardized values for categorizing GL accounts
  • Reconciliation between GL and subledgers to track accounted/transferred/posted transactions to GL
  • Materialization of data only available through costly and complex APIs e.g. Fusion Payroll, EBS / Fusion Accruals
  • Complex event Interpretation of source data – E.g.
    • What constitutes a transfer
    • Deriving supervisors via position hierarchy
    • Deriving primary assignment in PSFT
    • Categorizing and transposition to measures of Payroll Balances to specific metrics to support side by side comparison of measures of for example Fixed Salary, Variable Salary, Tax, Bonus, Overtime Payments.
    • Counting of Events – E.g. converting events to fact counters so that for example the number of hires can easily be added up and compared alongside the total transfers and terminations.
    • Multi pass processing of multiple sources e.g. headcount, salary, promotion, performance to allow side to side comparison.
    • Adding value to data to aid analysis through banding, additional domain classifications and groupings to allow higher level analytical reporting and data discovery
    • Calculation of complex measures examples:
    • COGs, DSO, DPO, Inventory turns  etc
    • Transfers within a Hierarchy or out of / into a hierarchy relative to view point in hierarchy.

Configurability and Extensibility support 

BI apps offer support for extensibility for various entities as automated extensibility or part of extension methodology

  • Key Flex fields and Descriptive Flex support
  • Extensible attribute support (JDE)
  • Conformed Domains

ETL Architecture

BI apps offer a modular adapter architecture which allows support of multiple product lines into a single conformed model

  • Multi Source
  • Multi Technology
  • Orchestration – creates load plan taking into account task dependencies and customers deployment to generate a plan based on a customers of multiple complex etl tasks
  • Plan optimization allowing parallel ETL tasks
  • Oracle: Bit map indexes and partition management
  • High availability support
  • Follow the sun support

TCO

BI apps support several utilities / capabilities that help with overall total cost of ownership and ensure a rapid implementation

  • Improved cost of ownership – lower cost to deploy
  • On-going support for new versions of the source application
  • Task based setups flows
  • Data Lineage
  • Functional setup performed in Web UI by Functional person
  • Configuration
  • Test to Production support

Security

BI apps support both data and object security enabling implementations to quickly configure the application as per the reporting security needs

  • Fine grain object security at report / dashboard and presentation catalog level
  • Data Security integration with source systems
  • Extensible to support external data security rules

Extensive Set of KPIs

  • Over 7000 base and derived metrics across all modules
  • Time series calculations (YoY, % growth etc)
  • Common Currency and UOM reporting
  • Cross subject area KPIs (analyzing HR vs GL data, drill from GL to AP/AR, etc)

Prebuilt reports and dashboards

  • 3000+ prebuilt reports supporting a large number of industries
  • Hundreds of role based dashboards
  • Dynamic currency conversion at dashboard level

Highly tuned Performance

The BI apps have been tuned over the years for both a very performant ETL and dashboard performance. The applications use best practises and advanced database features to enable the best possible performance.

  • Optimized data model for BI and analytic queries
  • Prebuilt aggregates& the ability for customers to create their own aggregates easily on warehouse facts allows for scalable end user performance
  • Incremental extracts and loads
  • Incremental Aggregate build
  • Automatic table index and statistics management
  • Parallel ETL loads
  • Source system deletes handling
  • Low latency extract with Golden Gate
  • Micro ETL support
  • Bitmap Indexes
  • Partitioning support
  • Modularized deployment, start small and add other subject areas seamlessly

Source Specfic Staging and Real Time Schema

  • Support for source specific operational reporting schema for EBS, PSFT, Siebel and JDE

Application Integrations

The BI apps also allow for integration with source systems as well as other applications that provide value add through BI and enable BI consumption during operational decision making

  • Embedded dashboards for Fusion, EBS and Siebel applications
  • Action Link support
  • Marketing Segmentation
  • Sales Predictor Dashboard
  • Territory Management

External Integrations

The BI apps data integration choices include support for loading extenral data

  • External data enrichment choices : UNSPSC, Item class etc. Extensible
  • Spend Classification

Broad Deployment Choices

  • Exalytics support
  • Databases :  Oracle, Exadata, Teradata, DB2, MSSQL
  • ETL tool of choice : ODI (coming), Informatica

Extensible and Customizable

  • Extensible architecture and Methodology to add custom and external content
  • Upgradable across releases

Thanks for reading a long post, and be on the lookout for future posts.  We will look forward to your valuable feedback on these topics as well as suggestions on what other topics would you like us to cover.

About

Phil Wang-Oracle

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